SS1: Targets, indicators, and benchmarks for resource use

Time: Monday, 12 October 2015 (8:00 – 9:50)

Location: Flüela

Session Chair: Dr. Sonia Valdivia, World Resources Forum, Switzerland

Session Chair: Dr. Xiaoyue Du, EMPA, Switzerland



On the road to a resource efficient Europe – Recent findings from POLFREE research

Martin Distelkamp1, Bernd Meyer1, Mark Meyer1, Beringer Tim2

1GWS, Germany; 2IASS, Germany

Concerning the use of natural resources in terms of raw materials, water, land and soil as well as with regards to CO2 emissions, the European Union (EU) aims at achieving ambitious targets (European Commission 2011). It is rather unambiguous that a socio-economic transition is needed in order to achieve these objectives, but to which extent? – For an illumination of this topic, the POLFREE project arranged simulation studies by means of the global economy-energy-environment model GINFORS. GINFORS represents an environmentally extended dynamic Multi-Region Input-Output (MRIO) model (for methodological details see Meyer et al. 2013). In order to assure a comprehensive modelling of biotic resource categories like land use or water, GINFORS was linked with the global vegetation model LPJmL in these studies (see, e.g., Popp et al. 2011 for a previous implementation of LPJmL to an integrated modelling framework). This integrated assessment approach facilitates the linked modelling of biotic resource availabilities and global economic developments under alternating climate regimes.


Experiences of Small Electronics Companies to Underpin Circular Economy Approaches by Means of Simplified Life Cycle Indicators

Karsten Schischke1, Nils F. Nissen1, Klaus-Dieter Lang1,2

1Fraunhofer IZM, Germany; 2TU Berlin, Germany

The term “Circular Economy” gains ground currently not only among large companies but also among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Suitable metrics are required to address circular economy effects in the product design process or for communication purposes towards consumers and clients. Simplified Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) calculations can help to quantify environmental effects throughout a product’s life cycle, to educate consumers and clients and to communicate business strategies. More than 120 SMEs from a range of industrial sectors received mentoring on simplified LCAs. Experiences from this interaction with SMEs are an invaluable source of insights into the current status of implementing circular economy approaches among small European companies. The paper analyzes the LCA requirements among companies from the electronics sector, including the various perspectives of product manufacturers, suppliers, and information technology refurbishing companies, given the limitations among these companies regarding environmental know-how, influence on supply chains, and resources to engage in LCAs. The experiences of the SMEs are illustrated on the example of three case studies. Drivers and barriers for using Key Environmental Performance Indicators are analyzed.


Historic Move of Current Global Flow of Strategic Metals


National Institute for Materials Science, Japan

Current trend of the global flow of strategic metals are analysed by use of visual mapping of trade flow. In many cases, each global flow of metal is changing from the trilateral structure of U.S., EU and Japan in the later 20th century into the convergence to China as “the factory of the world”. It distributes materials and products to developing countries to become world average GDP per capita up to $10,000. This development caused the historic price peak of metals and prepare the next stage of resource issue. Metal consumption per capita v.s. GDP per capita are traced from 1998 to 2013. Some kind of metals such as Cu and Au shift the growth from rapidly developing stage to moderate stage which have weak dependence on GDP per capita. However, the moderated level of metal consumption per capita is still high, considering the population growth. Several times of amount of resource will be required up to 2100. Recycling should be strongly promoted from now.


VDI framework guideline on resource efficiency: Towards the standardization and reduction of natural resource use in the industrial sector

Holger Rohn1,2, Franz Georg Simon3, Mario Schmidt4, Anke Niebaum5, Christof Oberender5

1Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy; 2Faktor 10 – Institut für nachhaltiges Wirtschaften gGmbH; 3BAM Federal Insitute for Materials Research; 4Institute for Industrial Ecology, Pforzheim University; 5VDI Centre for Resource Efficiency GmbH

In 2011, the German Association of Engineers (VDI) started working on a set of guidelines towards increased resource efficiency. These guidelines represent a framework that defines resource efficiency and outlines considerations for the producing industry. A special guideline for SMEs is included as well as guidelines on methodologies for evaluating resource use indicators, such as the cumulative raw material demand of products and production systems. Resource efficiency, defined here as the ratio of specific quantifiable use to natural resource consumption, can be evaluated by defining a function which expresses the specific use and quantifies the resource requirements through a set of indicators (use of raw materials, energy, water, land and ecosystem services including sinks). The results from this also depend on the system boundary parameters and the allocation rules for by-products and waste treatment options. Optimising resource use is possible at all stages of a product’s or production system’s life cycle chain (raw material extraction, production and manufacturing, use and consumption, and the end-of-life stage). VDI guidelines are widely accepted across Germany’s industrial sector and therefore represent an important means of mainstreaming resource efficiency in this target area. As well as providing a methodological framework, the guidelines describe strategies and measures towards increasing resource efficiency, and they enable industrial producers and service providers to identify potential areas of improvement. The full article presents an overview of the methodology and contents of these guidelines and discusses their impact in achieving absolute reductions in the industrial use of natural resources.


The Distribution of Solar Radiation across Nations

Colin Paul Hargreaves

Act on Climate, Australia

This paper presents the distribution of solar radiation resources across the geographically larger 171 countries of the world, and compares this to the distribution of other energy resources, such as crude oil, natural gas and coal, using oil-equivalent measures. The insolation incident on each country is calculated using the NASA Surface Meteorology and Solar Energy (SSE) Data, which provides estimates of the solar radiation for each quadrilateral of one degree latitude by one degree longitude, making 64,800 (180×360) data points. With a range of world mapping resources, these are used to calculate the solar power available to each nation. The table for every country is currently being completed. Solar reserves are a continuous, constantly replenished flow, while, fossil fuels have finite stocks, limited world resources. Thus, the oil and gas industry now explores in more and more highly remote areas, using technologies that equally mean that almost any land area could have a solar power installation, including areas at sea. The difficulty for solar energy is that solar is ‘live’ energy. Hence, a key factor is the distance the electricity has to be transmitted. Energy in oil and gas is stored (trapped) until it is burnt (albeit with possibly disastrous consequences). The socioeconomic policy implications for different nations in this new era of solar power are immense. The less developed countries, that could gain dramatically from investing in solar power, are identified.


Accelerating the circular economy: outcome on Resources of the Springtij Forum 2015 in the Netherlands

Arthur ten Wolde

Springtij Forum, The Netherlands

On September 24-26, the Springtij Forum 2015 “Reinventing the Future” holds a series of 5 master classes in the Netherlands on the Circular Economy in the track on “Resources”. Springtij is the annual Dutch forum on sustainability with ca 350 participants from governments, industry, NGOs, science and finance to discuss and work on the issues of climate, biodiversity, energy, economics and leadership. The track on Resources focuses on how to accelerate and mainstream the circular economy.

The outcome of this track will be reported in this session. The presentation will cover company examples of circular business models, obstacles, government and EU policy, the business Manifesto “More prosperity, new jobs”, Netherlands Hotspot Circular Economy, local approaches, societal benefits, and the latest developments on LCA implementation and circular ecnonomy indicators. What do companies encounter? What government policies are needed, and at what level? What is the North Sea Resources Roundabout? What does a local circular economy look like and what are frontrunning cities doing to get things going? How can the level of circularity be measured and pgroess be monitored? These are some of the questions that will be addressed.